On July 12, the Rolling Stones celebrated 50 years since a 19-year-old Mick Jagger, his childhood friend Keith Richards, and the brilliant but ill-fated Brian Jones (along with pianist Ian Stewart, bassist Dick Taylor, and drummer Tony Chapman) played their first gig together at London’s Marquee Club under the name “Mick Jagger and the Rollin’ Stones.” Within just a few years, the group of “pretty, thin, long-haired boys” (as bassist Bill Wyman called them) became the wild, sex-oozing, gas-station-pissing anti-Beatles of the swinging London scene.
The Stones didn’t actually release their first single—a harmonica-blasting, revved-up cover of Chuck Berry’s hit “Come On”—until 1963 when drummer Charlie Watts joined, but celebrations for the band’s 50th anniversary are already underway. Famed street artist Shepard Fairey unveiled an updated version of the Stones’ iconic Tongue and Lips logo in June and the group gathered at London’s Somerset House this week for a photo exhibit celebrating that first gig, for which the band was paid only 30 guineas in 1962. A documentary spanning all 50 years of Stones history is being put together and rumors of a 2013 tour are also floating around. “This is our story of 50 fantastic years,” said the band in a statement. “We started out as a blues band playing the clubs and more recently we've filled the largest stadiums in the world with the kind of show that none of us could have imagined all those years ago.”
They’ve had their legendary, rock-legend highs and their nasty, nearly band-breaking lows, but the Stones are still kicking—and hip-thrusting, dancing, and generally rocking their way into music history. There’s no sign of them stopping either. Keith Richards, when asked if he sees himself ever writing another song with Mick, answered emphatically, “Oh, yeah. I have no doubt”—to the glee of Stones fans everywhere.